If you are still looking for evidence that the battle waging in Wisconsin is but one on a larger assault on worker’s protections consider the state of Indiana. There the state legislature plans legislative hearings similar to those in Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio in support of bills to strip collective bargaining and organizing rights.
The bills are part of the larger “Right to Work” movement, a poll-tested name for efforts to defund unions by eliminating mandatory union workers dues for all workers. Taking away union funding would hit American workers two fold. First, even non due-paying workers are, by default, dependent on unions for salaries and benefits. That’s because when a union bargains for better hours, all workers benefit, regardless of their membership status.
Second, unions are the only other group other than corporations allowed the ability to spend unlimited campaign dollars under the Citizens United decision. Since there is no way to, in the short term, eliminate the flood of corporate cash funding elections and political campaigns, union spending is going to be the only short-term mechanism to push back against that influence. The Koch brothers alone require hundreds of millions of dollars in counter-advertising. Take away union funding and there would not be a single voice acting as a representative of worker’s interests.
Another bill under consideration would strip the ability to negotiate over anything other than salaries and a few basic benefits. Contract would be terminated without review.
For those unfamiliar with the scope of teacher’s union negotiations, oftentimes those are places where teachers lobby for additional funding for supplies for their classrooms or for smaller class sizes–benefits that directly and positively impact the students in their care. Take that away from teachers and it will only be administrators and politicians far-removed from the day-to-day process of teaching and learning that will make decisions for the school and students.
Which is precisely what Republicans want.
As Indiana state legislators hold these hearings members from other labor unions will be rallying in Indianapolis to support their teachers and fellow union members.
For more information on the union busting efforts underway, click here.
photo courtesy of xrayspx via Flickr
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